In many communities, those with family members diagnosed with mental health conditions are generally shunned or frowned upon. Imagine having not just one but two of your family members who are battling with mental illnesses half their lives.
67-year-old Ms Lisa, a divorcee, has three siblings. Her two elder brothers, aged 71 and 69 suffer from chronic schizophrenia since more than 20 years ago. Her younger brother, aged 61, suffers from multiple chronic illnesses such as heart disease, kidney failure, hypertension, psoriasis (a form of skin disease), Type 2 diabetes, double vessel disease and hyperlipidaemia. Ms Lisa herself suffers from diabetes.
Ms Lisa works as a therapist aid, earning about S$1,300 a month. She is currently residing in a shelter home for displaced individuals as she is unable to afford the open market room rental. To cope with her living and medical expenses, Ms Lisa found herself knocking on the doors of licensed moneylenders being at her wits end. She has also incurred outstanding medical bills for herself amounting to about S$1,500.
She also shared with us that the monthly repayment to the moneylenders worries her deeply, as she is working extremely hard to make ends meet. Although she knows that this is not a permanent solution to her problems, she has no choice as she has no other family members to turn to for financial and emotional support. However, she is thankful that besides diabetes, she does not have any other illnesses and is able to continue working to make ends meet.
Quoting Ms Lisa, “It is not by wish that my brothers have contacted such illnesses. But no matter how difficult it is for me, I still hope to provide for my brothers”.
ROHI would like to raise S$360 per month for three months to defray Ms Lisa’s expenses for food and transport. Your kind contribution will go a long way towards lightening the financial burdens for Ms Lisa.